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tv   Larry King Live  CNN  September 11, 2009 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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e-mails and stuff from people saying thank you for what you're doing. hope you know how much people respect what you're doing out here. thank you very much, appreciate it. stay safe. that does it for this edition of "360." thanks for watching. "larry king" starts right now. >> larry: tonight, you lie! the two words of conservative congressman, now wishes he never said to the president of the united states. democrats didn't like it. republicans won't defend him. is joe wilson's apology enough? plus, dr. andrew weil will examine barack obama's health care plan. does he agree with the prescription? he'll tell you how to protect your family from the flu epidemic, next on "larry king live."
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>> larry: good eveningr. we begin with two outstanding folks to discuss their side of this important issue. in new orleans, james carville. cnn political contributor, democratic strategist down in dallas, texas. nancy fultonhower, republican strategist and former advisor to john mccain. before we get into this, joe wilson fiasco, james, is the president going to get a bill? >> i think so. i mean, a pretty good bit of optimism. i talk to a number of people a day. there's some sense something's going to be coming out of the senate finance committee. but this thing has been tried by many presidents. and you know, the ditch is littered with corpses of people that tried this and failed. so we'll have to see. it's a tough slog. but something tells me that these guys are going to end up with something at the end of
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this process. >> nancy, do you think they will? >> well, you know, i think the jury's out. a lot depends on what is moved forward. you look at the president's poll numbers on handling this issue and his disapproval is up to 52%, which is pretty significant. and you know, there are certain things that could be done relatively easily. and that i think the republicans support. and you know, the question is why aren't we talking and moving forward on those things? why don't we just do a bill that increases interstate competition, that goes after medical malpractice, maybe, maybe, maybe removes the tax bias against individuals purchasing insurance. right now, the democrats have had their head handed to them, if you will, this august. and they know it. >> let's take care of this 15-minute story which people still might be talking about today. republican congressman joe wilson heckling the president last night. watch. >> the reforms -- the reforms
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i'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. >> you lie! [ booing ] >> it's not true. >> james, do you think all of this is an aftereffect of some of the wacko sides on both side of this, radio talk show hosts on both sides, who may go over the deep end, that produce something like this? >> look. first of all, he was completely erroneo erroneous. we run a thing from politifact, and factcheck.org. he doesn't know what he's talking about but that's nothing new. he didn't know what he was talking about on the iraq war either. i don't think this guy regrets it. i think he's in the mainstream of the modern republican party. he's pretty proud of himself. he issued some kind of written apology, never talked to the president personally, bragging today about all the support he's getting. rush is behind him 1,000%. i don't think rush is mad about it. he said he shouldn't apologize. so the real powers in the republican party are not upset with this guy at all.
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and he's feeling pretty good about himself, i think. >> th >> larry: nancy, do you think the bill covers illegal immigrants? >> the legislation i've seen is completely silent on whether or not anyone would ever have to prove that they were a u.s. citizen. and so the way the president, you know -- the president's remarks were very carefully drafted. he kind of waved a magic wand and instantly, 17 million people got insurance because he just took the illegal immigrants off the books, if you will. that's really nothing that's been dealt with yet on the hill. i think it was completely disrespectful and inappropriate for those remarks to be made. i think it was as bad or worse than when the democrats booed president bush when he talked about social security reform. >> larry: john mccain on this program last night said it was totally, totally disrespectful. >> right. >> larry: what, james? i'm sorry. >> i was saying, every independent person that looked at this has said that this guy was wrong. the president was right. like i say, he didn't even know
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the facts about iraq and weapons. that's neither here nor there. i don't think this guy feels very bad about this. i think he's proud of himself. already trying to use it to raise money. i think the republicans said the leadership asked him to apologize, he issued a statement, called rahm emanuel. i don't know that people should be upset about this. this is pretty much what the republican party is today. talk radio and down to sort of white southern male base. that's what it is. and we shouldn't be surprised at that. >> he has been uniformly condemned by the republican leadership. he did not represent the republican conference when he made that comment. and that's clear, james. i mean, i think -- how many people have to say, we do not believe it was respectful or appropriate. it clearly did not -- it hurt, it didn't help. didn't move the debate forward. >> larry: a little surprised there are people who are defending him. anyway. wilson has apologized. the president has accepted. let's watch.
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>> last night, i heard from the leadership that they wanted me to contact the white house and state that my statements were inappropriate. i did. very grateful that the white house in talking with them, they indicated that they appreciated the call and that we needed to have a civil discussion about the health care issues. and i certainly agree with that. >> do you accept wilson's apology? >> yes, i do. i'm a big believer that we all make mistakes. he apologized quickly. and without equivocation. and i'm appreciative of that. >> larry: you could tell that nancy pelosi was certainly upset with the look she gave to it. this story will be gone tomorrow. i'm shocked, james. you said that people were mad that he apologized? >> yeah, rush limbaugh was furious at him. we're going to find out a hit
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bit more. some facts are starting to come in about congressman joe wilson. i think we're going to find out -- i think this story will probably be around for a couple, three more days. he's got some interesting things, interesting causes he's espoused. we'll find out about these as it moves forward. again, today he was bragging about the support he had, and he was using this to raise money. he's no more sorry for this than -- at all. >> larry: nancy, do sames li s >> larry: nancy, do sames litat like that hurt your cause, the cause of the republican party? >> i think there was probably no one more upset, no group of people more upset about those comments than the republican leadership. they've introduced at least five different bills on health care reform. they want to talk about the subs. they win on the substance, if you will. and i think that they'd be happy to support something that they thought was good. but they will not support things that are terrible public policy, things that are going to dramatically increase the deficit, things that are going to increase taxes, that are going to put an individual mandate, shove it down people's
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throats. they're not going to support that and they shouldn't. >> larry: all right. i'll get james' comment in a moment. vice president biden predicted today, we'll have a bill by thanksgiving. think that's possible? we'll talk about it after the break. i've been growing algae for 35 years. most people try to get rid of algae, and we're trying to grow it. the algae are very beautiful. they come in blue or red, golden, green. algae could be converted into biofuels... that we could someday run our cars on. in using algae to form biofuels, we're not competing with the food supply. and they absorb co2, so they help solve the greenhouse problem, as well. we're making a big commitment to finding out... just how much algae can help to meet... the fuel demands of the world.
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the president made a very strong case last night. let's watch a moment of it. >> some have dug into unyielding
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ideological camps that hold no hope of compromise. too many have used this as an opportunity to score short-term political points even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long-term challenge. and out of this blizzard of charges and counter charges, confusion has reigned. well, the time for bickering is over. the time for games has passed. >> larry: james, do you think he can get everybody in the democratic wing to get together on this? >> no, no one's ever been able to get everybody in the democratic party together on anything. do i think he'll get enough to get a bill through? yes. i think the president came here genuinely wanting to be sort of bipartisan. republicans aren't going to vote for anything he puts up. they can't. listen to talk radio, to the joe wilson of the world. i think that he's come to the realization that they've wasted a lot of time giving the republicans 180 amendments and
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offering to sit down and talk with them about tort reform and everything. they're not going to be for what he proposes and it's time for him to -- i think he recognized that and get behind it and produce a bill and get it done. >> larry: nancy, there are many on the left who say the republicans, especially the right wing of the republicans, don't want health care reform. how do you respond? >> well, they've introduced at least five bills. i mean, you've got -- my goodness, you've got price tom ryan, coburn. they've introduced at least five pieces of legislation. they have asked to sit down. they have real plans. like i said, there is a body here that people could agree on. everybody supports opening up insurance to interstate competition. i just think that what we're going to see here, and i just have to disagree with james, i think we're going to see a stimulus retread where they give lip service to bipartisanship, they write it in, the house and senate leadership, they ram it
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through in the senate side on reconciliation, and you know, frankly i think the american people lose there. >> larry: james, you think that might happen? >> republicans were in power -- look at the republicans in power for eight years. average family premium went from $6,000 to $12,000. the truth of the matter is we spent one and a halftimes as much as the next industrialize the nation, switzerland. a lot of people are making money off this system and they're going to fight hard to keep the status quo. the republican party is committed to the status quo in health care. it's time for the president, hopefully he sees that now. and i think that's why he's having somewhat of a better week. the republican party didn't want him to talk to school kids. let's not be absurd. they're not going to compromise with him on health care, they don't want him to talk to schoolchildren. and we just accept that. we move on to what we're dealing with. there's no sense in getting mad about it, it's just a fact of life, like getting mad at hail. >> larry: nancy, you must agree that in the insurance industry
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there's somewhat a degree of greed. >> well, i tell you what, these are the vested interests are all basically in bed with the democrats on this. you've got the insurance companies, the pharmaceuticals. they've all been coopted, if you will, since the beginning. the people who are arguing and fighting this plan -- by the way, no new details, again, big, broad brushes, lots of promises. the price tag's in the trillions for this thing. any talk of lowering your health care costs because of this is ridiculous. but, you know, we did -- the people who are arguing against this are average americans who are extremely upset. you've got a lot of senior citizens. you've got a lot of small businesses. you've got a lot of women who are the health care decisionmakers for their families. and they're not -- they don't want to hand the wheel over to the government. >> larry: they don't want to leave it with insurance, do they? >> no, they want
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patient-centered health care. they want the doctor/patient relationship to be, you know, right up front. health care is moving sciencewise in a more and more individualized manner. we're able to map the human genome. we're able to -- there's individual medical protocols. they want to move into the opposite direction that has failed in other countries and that is very much a one size fits all. the american people know that they suffer. >> this is the definition of success, that is premiums double in eight years under republican rule. the definition of success is -- nancy, if you don't want me to talk, go ahead. >> go ahead. >> the definition -- the definition of success is that we pay over 1 1/2 times as much per person for health care as the next industrialized nation in the world, which is switzerland. we produce less -- our outcomes are nowhere near as good as what they should be. somebody wants to change it. the status quo in this country,
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and again, to get mad at the fact that the republicans are ideologically doctrine dominated by talk radio, son wing of the party, is like getting mad at air or grass. it's just there. and that's a fact of life. and we have to deal with that just like it's a fact of life that they want the status quo. >> again -- >> larry: nancy, do you want to comment? >> how many pieces of legislation do they have to introduce, james? there are real plans that have been put forward on the table. how about doctrineairre liberal? the american people have spoken on this, they do not want a government plan. they want bipartisanship. so if the democrats try the typical shell game where it's lip service allah the stimulus package, where it's lip service and then pass party line, the american people are not going to accept that. and about 64% of them have said that how people vote on this legislation will be a major factor in how they vote in the next elections. >> larry: we will devote a lot of attention to this in the days
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ahead. thanks so much. james carville and nancy fultonhower. dr. andrew weil is here. what does he think of the president's health care reform plans? sfx: coin drop, can shaking when you own a business, saving sounds good. so hear this: regions makes it simple to save money and time with lifegreen checking and savings for business, free convenient e-services and regions quick deposit, so you can deposit checks right from your desk. so switch to regions and start saving. plus, get a business financial review
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through a regions cashcor analysis. it's how business gets into the rhythm of saving. regions - it's time to expect more. >> larry: it's great to welcome back to "larry king live," too long a time between investments, dr. andrew weil, m.d., he wrote "healthy aging," and now "why our health matters." a vision of medicine that can transform our future. there you see its cover. published by hudson street press. forgive me, the title sounds -- isn't it silly, why our health matters? why wouldn't it matter? >> well, it certainly matters to us individually. because when we lose it, life doesn't become very worth living. but it should surely matter to us as a nation. >> larry: so you're referring to this nationally? >> absolutely. as you just heard, we spend more per capita on health care than
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any people in the world. and we have very little to show for it. our health outcomes are dismal. we've been paying more and more and getting less and less for it. if we don't do something about this, it will sink us economically. we'll be spending up to 20% of our gross domestic product on health care, and we can't sustain that. it will make us bankrupt. >> larry: this is what the president said about his goals for health care reform. let's watch a segment here. >> the plan i'm announcing tonight would meet three basic goals. it will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. it will provide insurance for those who don't. and it will slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government. it's a plan that asks everyone to take responsibility for
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meeting this challenge. not just government. not just insurance companies. but everybody. including employers and individuals. >> larry: before we get to some specifics, overall, andrew, what did you think of the speech? >> well, i think the -- trying for reform is laudable but i think the speech and the plan barely scratch the surface. and they miss the point. the point is, we have to get the cost of health care in this country down. and to do that, we have to shift our efforts toward prevention, and we have to change the nature of medicine. and i hear nothing in the speech about that. >> larry: and we're going to take a break and come back and get into this in a major way. the book is "why our health matters." the author is dr. andrew weil.
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>> larry: the book "why our health matters joochlts the guest dr. andrew weil. if you could make changes give us some you would make right now. be the king. >> okay, first of all, we don't have a health care system in this country. we have a disease management system. that's horribly dysfunctional and getting worse by the day. the vast majority of disease that we're trying to manage is lifestyle related and therefore preventible. what we need to do is shift our energies away from disease management toward making people healthy and preventing them from getting sick. and that means that i think a society-wide effort of everyone pulling in the same direction. you can't have the government telling us to eat more fruits
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and vegetables and at the same time through its subsidy program ensuring fruits and vegetables are the most expensive things in grocery stores and all the unhealthy stuff is the cheapest. everything has to work together here. secondly, the kinds of interventions that we're using to treat disease are way too expensive because they're dependent on technology. i include pharmaceuticals in that. we need a new kind of medicine in which doctors know how and patients accept low-tech, high-touch approaches to the treatment of illness. some immediate things, i would immediately ban direct to consumer advertising of pharmaceutical drugs. that's been a disaster for patients and doctors and a great boon to drug companies. no other country in the world allows that except new zealand. stop that right away. secondly i'd set up an office of health education in the department of education with adequate funds to get serious about k through 12 health education. starting with teaching kids about what health is. and what lifestyle choices promote it.
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i think education is something that we could really be serious about. you know, i heard the president last night talk about prevention very briefly. and he talked about mammograms and colonoscopies. to me, that is such a superficial aspect of prevention. the meat of prevention is about teaching people how to make the right choices about food, how to keep your body physically active, how to deal with stress -- >> larry: i understand that. but that's changing a whole philosophy. what do you do about 300 million people who may need that colonoscopy tomorrow to find out if they have colon cancer? >> of course we do that, that's hard of prevention, but that's an insignificant part. at the moment, insurance companies happily pay for drugs, for procedures, for expensive diagnostic tests. there's no reimbursement for doctors to sit with patients and give them advice about proper lifestyle choices. our priorities of reimbursement are completely backward. we don't play for preventive strategies, we pay for
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intervention. >> larry: does any country do what you want? >> no, i don't think so. and i think we in a way have the best chance of doing things differently. because there is a stronger movement here toward reforming medicine. there is a real movement toward changing the medical curriculum, towards teaching doctors the things that they're not currently getting. about nutrition. about mind-body interactions. about low-cost therapies other than pharmaceutical drugs. so i think we have a very good chance of doing this here, better than any country. maybe china. china has a great tradition of integrating eastern and western care. for instance, the average cancer patient in china gets integrated treatment, they get chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and sophisticated herbal therapy to minimize the toxicity of treatments and increase efficacy. here that cancer patient is very lucky if they can get that kind of treatment. >> larry: so you are not optimistic? >> well, i guess it's the best of times and it's the worst of
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times. i think that as the economic crisis in health care deepens, which it certainly will, it's going to force this deeper kind of change. at the moment all i hear the argument about is how we're going to give more people access to the present system and how we're going to pay for it. to me that's not the issue. the present system doesn't work and it's going to take us down. we need a whel new kind of medicine. we really need to work at making people healthy. i heard nothing in the plan that's going to make us a healthier nation. that can only be done through -- >> larry: we're going to find it. obviously through education. but how do you start that? we'll find out in a minute. by the way, are you worried about h1n1 influenza, swine flu? that's tonight's quick vote question. cnn.com/larryking and let us know. we'll talk about that, the possible killer flu, pandemic, what you can do about it with an expert: weil, next. with natural instincts. it's the healthier way to blend away gray and give you color that shines on. how?
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before we move back into the heart of the book and some other ideas, brilliant ideas, doc andrew weil has, "why our health matters." let's talk about swine flu. first, do you fear a major pandemic in this country? >> i think that's a possibility. my daughter who's a freshman at university of colorado had the swine flu a couple of weeks ago. she got over it in five days. she was moderately sick. had a little cough afterwards. you know, fortunately that's the way this disease is looking at the moment.
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and the dire predictions of its turning into something much more serious so far haven't come true. if they don't come true, i think we can all take a deep breath and be thankful and look at this as good practice, because inevitably at some point a serious strain of flu is going to come around. so for the moment, i think -- >> larry: there will be -- >> there will be a lot of cases but it doesn't look as if it's that serious. >> larry: there will be two shots. the standard flu shot, which you can get now a lot of places have it, and the 1st of october the swine flu shot. do you expect it to be effective? >> i think there's a good chance it will be effective. i don't know that i'd want to be first in line to get it. i'd rather wait and see and just be sure that it's safe and that the reactions to it are okay. >> larry: do you agree that everyone, if they can afford it, should have tamiflu handy? >> no, i'm not so sure of that. >> larry: no? >> first of all, indiscriminate use of tamiflu has resulted in increasing resistance of the swine flu to it. i think that should be held in
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reserve for cases of people who really need it. i think you should know how to get it or have a plan for how to get it if you need it. you've got 72 hours or so in which to take it. i wouldn't put all my eggs in that basket. >> larry: then do you have any grave concerns about it? >> i think we'll have to wait and see. the cdc is putting out updated bulletins on the swine flu very regularly. you can access these on the internet. i think we should pay attention to what's happening. for the moment, i'm cautiously optimistic that it's not going to be that terrible. >> larry: this is a classic example of a government responsibility? >> absolutely. and this is where, you know, public health is one of the areas that the government is responsible for, has a very good track record on. and i think that this will give us -- this is a kind of practice exercise for how we mobilize ourselves if a more serious disease does come around.
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>> larry: do we -- are there good preventative measures? >> we all know about the value of washing hands. i don't know that this has to be done with alcohol. i think using hot water and soap is just fine. but there are some interesting strategies. there is a chinese herbal product called astragulus. it's a root. it's easily available in health food stores. completely safe. it has antiviral effects and immune-boosting effects. i often recommend this to people. you can take it regularly through the flu season. i think i will start taking that if i'm traveling and the incidence of flu is still high -- >> larry: is it a pill? >> it's a capsule, perfectly safe, no side effects. astragulus. there's also a number of asian mushrooms that you can buy in various products in liquid or capsule form that have similar effects that help your body defend itself against viruses. >> larry: you're harvard educated. a lot of times when you mention
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these things they seem far out. >> well, i don't think they should anymore. first of all, there is good research on many of these. at the university of arizona, center of integrative medicine which i founded and direct, we regularly train physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, medical students, residents in the use of this. these are examples of what i mean by low-tech, cheaper approaches to disease intervention and treatment. and you know, there are so many things out there, from dietary change, use of exercise, the various mind-body techniques. none of these being taught in medical schools today. this is medicine of the future. i call it integrative medicine. and it has the great potential to lower health care costs by bringing lower-cost treatments into the mainstream that can produce outcomes as good or better than those of conventional medicine. >> are you generally an opponent of the pharmaceutical industry? >> well, you know, i'm no friend of the pharmaceutical industry.
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i think there's a higher markup on pharmaceuticals than any other commodity in the american market. the drug lobby has immense power over our representatives. both republicans and democrats. consider this, larry. it's just astounding to me that over all these years, the pharmaceutical lobby has blocked any legislation that would allow our federal government to buy drugs for medicare at a discount. that's outrageous. how do we stand for that? i will say i think the pharmaceutical lobby, these companies are just capitalizing on a mindset that has taken hold of both doctors and patients in this country, that the only legitimate way to treat disease is by giving drugs. if you told a doctor not to give a drug as part of a medical encounter, he or she wouldn't know what to do. if a patient doesn't get a prescription they would think it's not a legitimate medical transaction. how did we come to believe that the only way to treat disease is by giving drugs? >> larry: our guest, dr. andrew weil, his book, "why our health
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>> caller: are you fearful that if obama's health care bill does pass that those who did not previously have health care may be tempted to be less healthy? >> well, i certainly hope not. i think that, you know -- there is probably less -- this is more dependence in this country on the medical system than i have seen in other countries. in many countries, i'd say in germany, for example, people are much more self-reliant in matters of health. there's a greater tradition of taking care of yourself. here, i think the advent of prepaid medical care encourages people to run off to the hmo, to the health care facility, for every minor ache, pain, rash action headac-- rash, headache. that's a waste of our resources and i hope covering more people does not increase that trend. >> larry: john in oak ridge. i think we covered it, but do
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you regard the swine flu sweet 16, h1n1, as safe? >> request i don't know. i think chances are it is. i would like to wait and see when it starts in use. chances are it is but i'm not certain. >> larry: we have a blog question, a viewer who has multiple sclerosis posted to our blog asking your thoughts on the blood type diet. she says she's been on it for ten years and believed it's helped. >> more power to her. if it works fare you, do it. personally, i don't see any scientific basis for it. i like to tell people that dogs have blood type types and it would come as news to some dogs they should be vegetarians. . >> larry: all right. a question tweeted on king's things, how do we make parents accountable for the garbage they're feeding our kids? >> this is a matter of education. i have seen kids often be very effective change agents for parents and families. if we get the information to kids in the ways that they can
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understand, maybe they'll demand better food of their parents. larry, people are going to eat what's cheap and what's available. we have made the unhealthiest food cheap and available. and some of that is because we subsidize unhealthy ingredients that are everywhere out there and are cheap. and i think we also cannot let the food corporations do whatever they want. you know, maybe we have to experiment with a syntax on sew -- a sin tax on soda and junk food. it's a strategy that's worked for cigarettes, that raising taxes to a certain point deters young people from buying them. >> larry: e-mail question, do you think sodas and other sugar foods should be heavily taxed? >> i think we should experiment with that as a method and see whether it works. >> larry: what do you make of stem cells? >> i think the potential for stem-cell research is enormous. i think this is a frontier of high-tech medicine that is very
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exciting. the possibility of regenerating portions of heart muscle that are damaged by heart attacks. of severed spinal cords. of damaged organs. this country has been set back horribly in stem-cell research because of the years in which the religious right was allowed to dictate scientific policy. fortunately that's changed. >> larry: do you think fetal stem-cell might be even more remarkable than embryonic? >> it's possible and there's also an interesting line of research on adult stem cells, which avoids the whole question of dealing with embryos or fetuses. the whole world of stem-cell research is exciting, promising. let's see where it leads us. >> larry: how embryonic? >> how embryonic? i think that's -- >> larry: how far along are we? >> as i said, i think we are behind other countries because we had a big setback. i think we're getting close to this. i think we're very close to being able to treat juvenile
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diabetes by using stem cells to regenerate inlin-producing cells in the pancreas. i think these are right on the horizon. >> larry: does watermelon juice help with weight loss? hold it, we'll ask it in 60 seconds. hey, why don't we use our points from chase sapphire and take a break? we can't. sure, we can. the points don't expire... ♪ there is nothing for me... ♪ there's no travel restrictions... we could leave tomorrow. we can't use them for a vacation. you can use the points for just about anything. i know... ♪ the way you look tonight ♪ chase what matters. get your new chase sapphire card at chase.com/sapphire.
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>> larry: by the way the sun tigs of "why our health matters" is "a vision of medicine that can transform our future." things like stop making corporations rich. stop making our society poor. start each of us on the road to optimum health. myth or fact about watermelon juice? is it good for weight reduction? >> all fruit juice is concentrated sugar. if people want to lose weight the easiest thing to do is cut down or stop eating products made with flour and sugar. no, i don't think watermelon juice is going to help you lose weight, especially if you add it to what you're already eating. in many schools -- go ahead.
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>> larry: go ahead. >> in many schools that got soda machines out of schools, these were replaced with fruit juice vending machines. that's not that different. these are still beverages that are concentrated sugar. >> larry: so what happened to fruits and vegetables as the healthiest means to live? >> there's a big difference between fruits and fruit juice. fruits are fine. again, in moderation. i think vegetables you really want to go for because they are full of protective compounds that help us defend against cancer and all sorts of degenerative diseases. >> larry: is cantaloupe good for you? >> sure, it's a good fruit, it's good for you. >> larry: i like it. ottawa, canada call. hello. ottawa, hello. >> caller: how are you? >> larry: hi, fine, go ahead. >> caller: hello, doctor. i've always admired you very much. but i have to disagree with you
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on fighting the reform of health care in your country. i feel, because i go down there every winter and i think that most of the doctors there are dictated by your insurance company. it's not good health care. >> i couldn't agree with you more. >> caller: they're afraid -- >> larry: ma'am, where do you disagree with him? >> caller: because when they have to check with the -- their insurance companies whether they can proceed with any procedure. >> look, this is a big problem -- >> larry: is that different in canada? is that different in canada, ma'am? >> caller: of course it is. because our doctors do not depend -- have to wait for an insurance company to say whether they can proceed or not. >> larry: so i don't think you disagree with the doctor. >> absolutely not. in fact, one of the problems
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here is that american medicine has become totally reimbursement-driven. it's not evidence-driven. what's done in medicine is what's paid for. and the priorities of reimbursement are competely skewed. as i said, we happily pay for interventions, we don't pay for prevention. >> larry: back with more of dr. andrew weil right after this. ♪ 'cause now i'm driving off the lot in a used sub-compact. ♪ ♪ f-r-e-e, that spells free credit report dot com, baby. ♪ ♪ saw their ads on my tv ♪ thought about going but was too lazy ♪ ♪ now instead of looking fly and rollin' phat ♪ ♪ my legs are sticking to the vinyl ♪ ♪ and my posse's getting laughed at. ♪ ♪ f-r-e-e, that spells free- credit report dot com, baby. ♪ when you're sick, you go to the doctor for answers. and when you hear scary rumors about health insurance reform being a big government takeover... doctors have the answer again. according to the american medical association,
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"the health reform plans being debated in congress ensure that health care decisions will be made by you and your doctor--no one else." you choose your own doctor, make your own decisions and you can't be dropped if you get sick, or denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. that's a long way from a government takeover. and what about the claims that health reform will cut medicare benefits? "false" says the non-partisan factcheck.org... health reform maintains and even expands benefits for seniors and focuses on preventing illness before it strikes. our health care is too important for scare tactics, you deserve the truth. learn more at the factsaboutreform.org
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let's check in with anderson cooper at patrol base jerrgeron afghanistan, a cold morning in the desert. what's up tonight, anderson? >> as you said, live from afghanistan tonight. we're going to start the program with fresh news from washington. the man everyone is talking
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about, congressman joe wilson, who called president obama a liar last night. he issued an apology but the controversy is only heating up. today we'll tell you who is speaking out against him and who is supporting him. in afghanistan on the eve of the september 11th anniversary, where is osama bin laden? we'll talk straelk with michael ware and peter bergen. we'll take you out on patrol from patrol base geronimo. we went on patrol with the afghan national army and their u.s. counterparts and saw firsthand the struggle to earn the trust of the townspeople who live in the shadow of the taliban. all that and more at the top of the hour, larry. >> larry: thanks. don't forget, anderson cooper, "ac 360." dr. andrew weil, author of why why our health matters." is the whole problem as you see it doctor in the concept of the system, and even though there may be various types of answers to reform democrats and republicans are both locked into the idea of the insurance company and the benefits they're in in? >> yeah, i think the arguments
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are at a level that doesn't even begin to touch the deep problems. and they're things we can do now, larry. one of the big problems in this country -- >> larry: like? >> we have far too many specials, far too few generalists. we need many more generalists, general practitioners, family medicine doctors, general internists. countries that have more generalists, states that have more generalists have better health outcomes. we don't have people going into general medicine because it doesn't pay as well, it doesn't have the prestige. the federal government should subsidize the education of doctors who go inn those fields, a change we could make immediately. i have a call to action with seven steps that people can take right now to demand meaningful changes in health care. you can access this on my website, drweil.com. this is above nasty politics. it's like creating an office of health education in the department of education, banning director to consumer pharmaceutical ads, mandating integrative medical education be taught in medical residency
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programs and medical schools. this is all stuff we could do immediately. and if people begin to demand these changes, we can see i think the start of real changes in the system. >> where do we go wrong or have we always been wrong? >> i think we went wrong somewhere in the middle of the 20th century. when medicine started getting mixed up with big money. medicine was never meant to exist in a for-profit system. the interests of those who run for-profit medical care are fundamentally at odds with those of doctors and patients. as dysfunctional as this system is, it's generating rivers of money that are going into relatively few pockets. and those pockets belong to people who don't want to see the system change. medicine -- i mean, it's so sad that health care is now routinely called an industry. it was always thought of as an art. as a profession. as a caring profession. never an industry.
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prim ae primarily concerned with making money. that has distorted everything in this country. >> do you favor some sort of public system? >> i favor including everyone. i think it's a given to me that a free democratic society should guarantee basic health care to all its citizens. just as it guarantees basic security. but how we do that, whether that's publicly, privately, a mixture of the two, i don't know. i'm not a policy expert. what i do know is if we try to do that now, given the kind of medicine that we're now practicing, it's unsustainable. it's a recipe for bankruptcy. >> larry: we do not -- it's a myth that we have the best medicine in the world? >> absolutely. you know, the world health organization recently ranked our health outcomes on par with serbia. now, the reason fare that is we have so many uninsured people who don't have access to good medical care. even in some of our biggest cities and our best hospitals the quality of care is deteriorating.
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rates of hospital infections are up. shortages of nurses are acute. medicine has gotten sloppy. i think she's are all consequences of the profit-driven kind of medicine that we have today. the system is just breaking down. the bottom line is, you can't afford to get sick today. and the amount of money that we pay for health care and what we have to show for it, this is a national disgrace. >> larry: her moments coming up with dr. weil. next health care crisis already here. what are we going to do about it? shortage of doctors. weil has some answers. after this. you might as well be. you see, their moisturizer sits on top of skin, almost as if you're wearing it. only new dove deep moisture has nutriummoisture, a breakthrough formula with natural moisturizers... that can nourish deep down. it's the most effective natural nourishment ever. new dove deep moisture with nutriummoisture. superior natural nourishment for your skin.
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in the north of england to my new job at the refinery in the south. i'll never forget. it used one tank of petrol and i had to refill it twice with oil. a new car today has 95% lower emissions than in 1970. exxonmobil is working to improve cars, liners of tires, plastics which are lighter and advanced hydrogen technologies that could increase fuel efficiency by up to 80%.
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>> larry: book w"why our health
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matters." dr. andrew weil, what about the shortage of doctors? >> you know, doctors are as frustrated and unhappy about the system as patients are. they have lost their autonomy. they are tired of practicing defensive medicine out of fear of lawsuits. they resent being dictated to by insurance companies. they can't use their own medical judgment. as we change all this, i think the medical profession will attract more, more, and more people who genuinely want to help people and are able to do that. it's all one big knotted mess. as we change the philosophy of the system, to shift our energies in the direction of prevention and health promotion, to break our dependance on these expensive, high-tech solutions to everything, i think that shortage will naturally disappear. >> larry: what is your biggest complaint about the health insurance industry? >> its motives are profit. its motives are profit. it's all about making money. >> larry: do we live in a capitalist society? >> sure. you're allowed to make a reasonable amount of money. but when you look at the
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salaries of the ceos of these big insurers, it's the same situation you have with wall street. this is not justifiable. something has to be done about this. there can't be that amount of profit made when american health care and the lives of americans are suffering so much. >> larry: don't you think president obama is aware of that? >> he said it at the opening of his speech. i think that, you know, he's -- he very clearly stated the problem. and all of the hardship that it is causing. i think that was terrific. the fixes he proposes are just so short of what's needed. they don't really touch the deeper problems. again, let me just repeat, the root of our troubles is that health care in america is so expensive. we have to get those costs down. the only way we can do that is by shifting this enterprise toward preventing disease and making our citizens healthy and by changing the nature of medicine to break its dependence on high-tech expensive solutions to everything. the bottom line is if we don't change the content of health care, any attempt at reform will
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be taken down by unmanageable costs. >> larry: what country has the best health system in the world? >> well, you know, i think -- i don't know that anyone has the best. i think germany which has a mixture of private and public does pretty good. australia has a mixture of private and public i think does well. citizens in norway are certainly happy with their health care. so i think we can look around and see countries where things are better than here. but everywhere the same problems are going to develop. what's happened here is developing everywhere for the same reasons. that the costs of health care are going up because of the nature of medicine. that has to change. >> larry: always a pleasure having with you us, andrew. thanks so much. >> i enjoyed it. good night. >> larry: dr. andrew weil, the book, "why our health matters: a vision of medicine that can transform our future." before we go, want to recommend a terrific new boowr
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